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Innovation, Reader Analytics, Data and the Publisher's Dilemma

Yesterday, All Things Considered ran a brief piece about reader analytics. That’s a new field being developed by a lot of people, including the very smart folks at Kobo (Michael Tamblyn) and Jellybooks (Andrew Rhomberg).

What’s interesting in this conversation is the “or” nature of it. Data or editorial gut? But I think what we’re seeing evolve is when we use data as a part of our information stream…or maybe even a number of different data points to support our decision-making. Not “or” but “and.” 

As book publishers, we make thousands of decisions, and it’s always striking how relatively small decisions can have big impact. It’s hard to get a book 100% right. And that’s probably why it’s also so rare. 

For me, innovation and data are really all about connecting authors to readers; helping to expand readership and also connecting in new ways.

I tried explaining that recently in an interview.

I think we’re at the beginning of reader analytics. And it’s going to take us to some new places that will undoubtedly lead to other new conversations. What do you think?


P.S. If you want to learn a bit more about reader analytics, here’s a quick reading list:

1) Andrew in Digital Book World: Who’s Afraid of Reader Analytics

2) Alexandra Alter in the New York Times: Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look At How We Read

 3) Some background from Publishing Perspectives: Ebook Platforms Know What, When, and How You Read


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